The Home Stretch
In the mid-2000s, with three decades of work behind us, we were in the home stretch of our efforts to protect Robb Reservoir. The last letter in my Robb file is dated May 30, 2006. It was to U.S. Senator Judd Gregg, written by Stephen Froling and seeking Judd’s support for both the $3 million federal Forest Legacy grant and a $500,000 federal North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant. In making the case, Stephen noted the Town of Stoddard’s amazing contribution and also the $250,000 promised by the State of New Hampshire’s Land & Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP). He also made reference to the unanimous endorsement by the Quabbin-to-Cardigan Partnership, a conservation collaborative working to protect high priority lands between the Quabbin Reservoir in Massachusetts and Cardigan Mountain in New Hampshire.
The committee seeking private donations was also very successful. By October 2006, we already had contributions and pledges totaling $350,000 out of the $400,000 goal. Robb Reservoir was then a likely place to see the iconic moose, so it was very fitting that among the last dollars to roll in were $40,000 from the State of New Hampshire’s Moose Plate grant program. By spring of 2007, we were able to proclaim success!
We ‘otter’ celebrate!
Participants on our April 2007 paddle around the Reservoir saw not one or two, but four bald eagles! So along with another one of my not-so-great puns (We ‘otter’ celebrate), I summed it all up by thanking the four eagles representing the four keys to success: the Trust for Public Land; individual private donors; the state and local government; and the federal government. And hey, the bald eagle is the national bird!
For the record, under the Forest Legacy grant guidelines, the land is owned by the Harris Center, but officially protected by a conservation easement held by the state, and the NH Fish and Game Department (NHFG) manages fishing and hunting in the Reservoir.
End of story? Not quite. I’ll end with a salute to Charles Chandler. Back when that Massachusetts developer was trying to get approvals for an 82-lot housing development around the Reservoir, Charles had refused to sell him a 17-acre shorefront lot that would have facilitated road access. And about a decade later, Charles and his sister, Ruth Ahern, agreed to sell that parcel to the Harris Center, along with another 71 acres along a half-mile of the North Branch.
So today, the entire shoreline is protected as part of our 1,750-plus acre Robb Reservoir Reservation — by far our largest land holding to date. Some things are worth waiting for!